A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show presents data and statistics using fun and innovative mapping techniques that paint a clear picture of the information. Content addresses such diverse topics as sports, disease, and international crime, uncovering little-known facts about each one and showing how they affect people. Some episodes deal with mature themes such as the sex trade and drug use, all of which is presented with numbers rather than in personal stories.
Positive Role Models
The host is engaging and presents information in a clear, educational manner. Of the subjects, a mixed bag of behavior and life choices.
Violence & Scariness
Some episodes touch on violent topics such as human trafficking, but they're mostly mentioned in passing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One episode spotlights data about sex, exploring topics such as brothels, sex rituals, and strip clubs and talking about the popularity of each. The host breaks down sexual activity by demographic, gender, and geographical location.
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"F--k" is edited.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
When the subject warrants it, drugs (pills, marijuana joints, and heroin) are in view. A former user discusses addiction, and one brief scene shows a man snorting heroin.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Big Picture with Kal Penn is a statistics-based series that maps out data related to topics such as natural disasters and international crime in an effort to show how each one affects people on a daily basis. Viewers have a lot of numbers thrown at them in the course of one episode ("highest number per capita," "fastest rate of growth"), but the host's delivery and the show's creative infographics ensure that all the information is easy to digest. Some episodes raise issues such as human trafficking, prostitution, and drug use (with heroin use shown), but the information is presented statistically rather than emotionally. Strong language ("f--k," for instance) is mostly edited. This series is filled with fascinating facts about a variety of subjects, but since many of the topics touch on mature themes, it's best suited for adults and teens with an interest in social issues.
Is It Any Good?
It sounds like a glorified statistics class, but The Big Picture with Kal Penn is a whole lot more fun than sitting in some stuffy college lecture. For starters, having Penn at the helm brings levity to even the most serious of topics and ensures that none of the numbers gets lost in translation to laypersons in the audience. Even complex matters such as pandemic disease are boiled down to facts and figures that the average viewer can understand without breaking a sweat.
But the show doesn't set out to only deliver the facts; it aims to relate each topic to viewers' lives in some way. Think that drug use doesn't affect you? You might be surprised to discover how its ripples can reach your doorstep. Is fantasy football simply a fun pastime? Perhaps, but it's also a booming business in which statistics reign supreme. Even if the subject isn't of particular interest to you, this intriguing show may just win you over with its unique visual presentation of otherwise dusty facts and figures.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.